Wednesday, August 17, 2005

boiled crawfish, russian style

As if it had read my mind, the New York Times’ Dining & Wine section prominently features an article on the langoustine. I’ve been meaning to write on them – I’ve had a craving as of late. However, the intrepid food writers at the NYT beat me to the punch. Figures. They, unlike ahem, say, me, get paid to write about food. I just have stolen moments.

Looking like little lobsters, langoustines have a pristeen and delicate taste, far superior to the flavor of their larger cousin. The meat is more delicate, balanced. Though hardly of noble existence, langoustines, as well as lobsters, and other who’s who on the fruits de mer platter, scavengers that they are, langoustines are a delicacy, appearing at high-end restaurants for a memorable price.

Its delicate flavor yielding itself to many a dish, I agree with Mr. Apple in that the flavors of langoustines are best displayed in their most simple preparations. But while Mr. Apple suggests that you add some hot sauce or mayonnaise to a heaping pot of freshly-boiled langoustines, I raise his suggestion and give you an even simpler one.

  • Boil langoustines in a pot of salted water – make sure you can taste the saltiness, as this isn’t just to raise the boiling point. Cook your langoustines much in the same way you would boil a lobster. Their bodies will turn delicately pink, indicating to you their doneness.
  • Drain the pot, sprinkle with coarse salt. I like Maldon Sea Salt for these endeavours.
  • Eat.
  • A few pointers, I think that oil or butter messes with the fine tasting notes of langoustines. Which is why I don’t recommend a condiment. You wouldn’t ruin a good oyster with any mignonette, why would you mess with the most naturally delicious meat?

    While most people will give you wine pairings, I’ll suggest that you forgo wine here altogether. In fact, to better taste the sweetness of langoustines, you should pair it with a light beer. A Sapporo goes perfectly with the flavors.

    If, however, you find yourself somewhere in France, say, La Rochelle, for example, be sure to order yourself the biggest platter of fruits de mer the menu offers – and taste the freshest, most delicious seafood ever.

    See more: Seafood, ,
    Friday, August 5, 2005

    raspberries & cream

    On hot and muggy summer nights, such as ones we’re getting in New York right now, it’s hard to develop much of an appetite. It’s also hard to muster any desire to cook. Diets become salads and fruit. Water consumption grows. White wine replaces red, at least for the time being.

    I have been in study mode and so cooking until I am done with studying is out of the questions. Hence I cheat. Here, that is. I think of recipes and articles to post for you all to read that doesn’t require me actually cooking anything at the moment. Forgive me my sins so far, I promise that I’ll make this site worth your while.

    And so. Back to the sticky weather. Last night I returned home in a foul mood. My day went from magically lucky to horribly wrong. I won’t go into the sordid details, but I almost broke down in tears on the phone when a rather sensitive issue was brought up. Something had to change in my day and that something had to be food.

    Now, I am not suggesting that every time you have a bad day, you seek out food as therapy. That could run dangerous. But I do think that a glass of lemonade, some tea, a bit of port – life’s little luxuries – will brighten up your day and calm you a bit.

    I raided my fridge only to find some chocolates, chilled white wine, hummus, bread, raspberries & cream. Instantly, I remembered a dessert a friend of mine and I used to make in school. She grew up with an English nanny and remembered her nanny giving her raspberries & cream for dessert in the summer. It was light, delicious and most of all, a little luxurious pampering I needed.

    In less than a minute, I had myself a heaping bowl of fresh raspberries coated with cream. It was joyous! It was better than anything I had all day. And I instantly had a smile on my face. My otherwise horrid day disappeared into memory land.

    The process is quite simple:

    A pint of raspberries
    1/4 – 1/2 cup of cream (depending on how you like it)